How to Cook Wild Rice (2024)

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How to Cook Wild Rice (1)Linley Hanson

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We’re Minnesota gals AKA pros at cooking wild rice. We love adding it to soups, casseroles, and bowls because it’s nutty and has a bite to it. In this post, we’ll teach you how to make wild rice on the stove and in the Instant Pot. Both ways are easy and will have you using wild rice on a regular basis.

It is fun to use wild rice as a topping or a fun addition to meals you already know how to make. We love adding wild rice to a butternut squash soup or mixed into one of our delicious salad recipes.

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If you’re from the midwest (hi, it’s me!) you probably grew up with wild rice as a staple in your kitchen. Did you know that most wild rice is grown and harvested from the Great Lakes region of North America (and much of it within the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin!) and Canada. Crazy, right? (MN DNR) If you can’t tell, we’re passionate about this grain and claim it as a “food Minnesota is known for.”

Although wild rice takes longer to cook than white rice, it’s totally worth it for the flavor and texture. It’s just the best when it “pops” and “curls.” That’s how we were taught it’s done cooking!

Oh, and one thing to note about cooking wild rice – the method is similar to pasta where you boil the grain in water and then strain the excess liquid!

What You Need to Make Wild Rice

Like other rice recipes, all you really need is wild rice and water. If you’re looking to add more flavor, you can swap the water for broth. You’ll also need to make sure you have a pot (or Instant Pot) and a strainer if you’re cooking it on the stove.

What is the water-TO-wild rice ratio for cooking wild rice?

The ratio for water:rice all depends on HOW you cook your wild rice. The ratios for our wild rice recipes are below!

  • Stove-top 1 cup wild rice to 4 cups water
  • Instant Pot 1 cup wild rice to 1.5 cups water

How long does it take to cook wild rice?

It takes about 30-45 minutes for wild rice to cook depending on how you decide to prepare your wild rice.

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Do you have to soak wild rice before cooking?

You do not have to soak wild rice before cooking it! We wanted there to be as few steps to cooking wild rice as possible. That being said, people soak their wild rice to reduce the cooking time, so if you have the time feel free to soak the wild rice. The finished texture will remain the same.

Our recipes DO NOT include soaking the wild rice.

Is wild rice supposed to be crunchy?

Wild rice is supposed to have a bite to its texture! When wild rice is done cooking, it will split or pop.You will know if this happens if your wild rice splits down the middle and turns a beige or white color.

Your wild rice should have a bite, meaning it shouldn’t hurt your teeth when you bite into it but it should still have a tender texture.

How is wild rice different than other rice?

Wild rice is different than other rice in that it is an outer sheath (or shell) on the outside and a soft grain on the inside. Other rice species like white rice or brown rice do not have that outer shell.

When we explain HOW to cook wild rice compared to other types of rice, I like to say we cook wild rice like it’s pasta! We boil it and strain it rather than solely depend on absorption!

How do you know when wild rice is done?

Your wild rice is done when it has cracked and revealed it’s inner soft grain! It should be chewy, but not mushy!

Can I freeze cooked wild rice?

Yes, you can freeze cooked wild rice! Let the wild rice cool completely before placing it in an airtight plastic bag or stasher bag. Remove the air from the bag and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 months!

When you’re ready to use the rice, let it thaw out and use it in your favorite recipes!

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Directions for Cooking Wild Rice on the Stove

Preparing wild rice on the stove top is probably the most common way to prepare wild rice! Prepare wild rice on the stove top like you would pasta! It is a hard grain, so it will take longer to cook, like pasta.

  1. Place your 1 cup of wild rice and 4 cups of water into a pot.
  2. Bring to a boil and then cover.
  3. Let simmer for around 45 minutes or until has popped.
  4. Strain any excess water and enjoy.

here’s a flavor tip

Want your wild rice to have more flavor? Boil your wild rice in broth instead of water! This will add another layer of flavor to whatever dish you are preparing!

Directions for Cooking Wild Rice in the Instant Pot

We LOVE cooking wild rice in the Instant Pot. It is a set-it-and-forget-it situation! We are all about it! The beautiful part of the Instant Pot wild rice is that there is only one step involved.

  1. Add 1 cup of wild rice and 1.5 cups of water into your Instant Pot.
  2. Close and seal your Instant Pot.
  3. Cook on high pressure for 35 minutes.
  4. Quick release and remove the lid. Enjoy!

A Few Tips

Here are some tips and takeaways for preparing wild rice in the Instant Pot:

  • Place wild rice and liquid into the Instant Pot itself. No need for any additional bowls or trivets.
  • You don’t need a natural release when you cook wild rice in the Instant Pot. 35 minutes on high pressure is enough time for the rice to cook and absorb the water.
  • If you release the pressure from the Instant Pot and there is still a little bit of water in the bottom of the Instant Pot, let the wild rice sit for an additional 10-15 minutes to absorb the rest of the liquid.
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More of our Favorite…

Recipes with Wild Rice

  • Chicken Wild Rice Soup Recipe
  • Wild Rice Meatloaf
  • Butternut Squash, Chicken, and Wild Rice Casserole
  • Cornbread Stuffing with Wild Rice
  • Vegetarian Harvest Grain Bowl

Our Favorite Ways to Use Wild Rice

The beautiful thing about wild rice is that it is so versatile! There are so many ways to incorporate wild rice into your favorite dishes. Wild rice can be the all-star in your dish in a casserole or soup. It can also make a great accompaniment to soups and salads as side dishes.

  • Chicken Wild Rice Soup
  • Cornbread Dressing with Wild Rice
  • Creamy Pumpkin Wild Rice Soup
  • Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Salad (replace the farro with wild rice!)
  • Lazy Girl Turkey Chili (add in about 1/4 cup of cooked wild rice to each serving!)
  • 30 Minute Spicy Butternut Squash Soup
  • Chicken Meal Prep Recipes (use it as the grain in one of these meal prep recipes!)

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How to Cook Wild Rice (7)

5 from 3 votes

How to Cook Wild Rice

Learn how to make wild rice on the stove top and in the Instant Pot. Both methods are very easy and will have you using wild rice in a variety of recipes!

Prep:5 minutes minutes

Cook:45 minutes minutes

Total:50 minutes minutes

Fat 0


Protein 6

Yield: 4



  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 4 cups of water or broth

Instant Pot

  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 1.5 cups of water or broth



  • Add wild rice and liquid to a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.

    How to Cook Wild Rice (8)

  • Lower heat to low and cover. Let wild rice simmer for around 45 minutes, stirring halfway through.

  • Once the wild rice is done*, strain the excess liquid from the wild rice and enjoy!

    How to Cook Wild Rice (9)

Instant Pot

  • Add wild rice and liquid to the bottom of the Instant Pot.

  • Turn pressure valve to seal and cook wild rice for 35 minutes on high pressure.

  • Quick release pressure and fluff wild rice with a fork, and enjoy!

Tips & Notes

  • You know when your wild rice is done when the grain pops open. It’s supposed to taste more “al dente” the mushy.

Watch It

Nutrition facts

Calories: 143kcal Protein: 6g Fat: 0g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 1g

Author: Linley Hanson

Similar recipes:

  • Easy Instant Pot Fried Rice

  • Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie Soup

  • Easy Instant Pot Stuffed Pepper Soup

  • Wild Rice Meatloaf

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About Linley Hanson

Linley has played an important role in the success of Fit Foodie Finds over the last 10 years. She is an incredible home cook and has an amazing palate. She is the brain behind our recipes and has spent thousands of hours developing, testing, and perfecting the delicious meals you see here at Fit Foodie Finds.

5 3 votes

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How to Cook Wild Rice (16)

Posted on 1/23/2022

Recipe Rating :

How to Cook Wild Rice (17)
I added wild rice to my recipe and it came out perfect!!! Thanks for the tips!



How to Cook Wild Rice (19)


Posted on 12/30/2021

Recipe Rating :

How to Cook Wild Rice (20)
Very easy, did this in the pressure cooker for the time specified and it was perfect. I got about 3/4 cup rice for each 1/4 cup uncooked. I am a fan of wild rice as a side and want to add to salads etc as suggested. Worked perfectly



How to Cook Wild Rice (21)

Randy s

Posted on 12/19/2021

Recipe Rating :

How to Cook Wild Rice (22)
This was super helpful and easy to follow


How to Cook Wild Rice (23)

Posted on 12/5/2020

Thanks for sharing such information. Keep it up.


How to Cook Wild Rice (24)

Martin Rush

Posted on 12/1/2020

I am making my first turkey carcass soup! I wanted a little more oomf than the turkey and veggies and couldn’t decide between wild rice and barley, so I didn’t decide! I am going to add a cup of each to the turkey soup for the last 45 minutes before serving 🙂 It turns out that the two are very similar in water:[barley|rice] ratio and cook time. I think the combo will add a robustness, nutrient, and fiber content to the soup that is exactly the kick I wanted to add.

This will be the first time I have made:
Turkey Carcass Soup (cobbled together from three different recipes)
Wild Rice

I expect it to be awesome! Thanks for your participation in my grand experiment 🙂


How to Cook Wild Rice (25)


Posted on 2/22/2020

A great trick I like to do before cooking my rice is to fry it in a bit of oil and a few pieces of onion for nice flavour, then add my water and steam it. Thanks for the post, I’ve been trying to find a great alternative to white rice and wild rice is my favourite so far!



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Posted on 10/6/2019

My package of wild rice says to wash, cover with water and refrigerate over night before cooking. Does this still need to be done before cooking in the instant pot?


Lee Funke

Posted on 10/7/2019

Reply to Kelly

I don’t think that is necessary, but you can if you want!



How to Cook Wild Rice (2024)
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